"Attached is a letter that I received earlier this week from Bishop Hougen, setting forth his position regarding Pastor Sabin's status with respect to our congregation. In his letter, Bishop Hougen informs me that he believes that Lord of Life's call to Pastor Sabin has been terminated because Pastor Sabin has been "removed from the roster by disqualification of the pastor through discipline on grounds of doctrine, morality, or continued dereliction of duty..." citing section C9 of Lord of Life's constitution. "Having reviewed Bishop Hougen's letter as well as Lord of Life's constitution, the council believes it needs additional information from the bishop before it can recommend a course of action to the congregation. Furthermore, Lord of Life has not yet received any formal notification from either the synod or the ELCA of Pastor Sabin having been removed from the roster and the reason for that removal. Therefore, the council advises the congregation to take no action on Pastor Sabin's status as pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church until these issues can be clarified." "The council believes that the only part of [Lord of Life's constitution] that applies to the case of Pastor Sabin is part 5, which is also the part specifically cited by Bishop Hougen. Part 5 refers to 'disqualification of the pastor through discipline *on grounds of doctrine, morality or continued neglect of duty*' (emphasis added). The question is how this applies to our current situation. Terminating the call of its pastor -- which is defined in part a) of this section as 'a continuing mutual relationship and commitment' -- is an extremely serious action for a congregation to take. Furthermore, there is danger of serious injury to our congregation in any action taken here, either to keep Pastor Sabin or terminate his call. We must therefore be especially careful to act in accordance with our constitution, and not take any action until we are sure that our constitution requires us to do so."End of quote. In other words, since the ELCA repeatedly stated Steve's removal from the roster of ordained clergy had nothing to do with either morality or doctrine or dereliction of duty, and insisted it was strictly an administrative action, Lord of Life Church, by its constitution, may not be required to ask Steve to leave.
(from a letter dated 26 October 1998 from Karl and Steve)